Jimmy Kimmel Bitten by Rattlesnake

Video clip shows host Jimmy Kimmel being bitten by a snake on the set of his talk show.

Claim:   Video clip shows host Jimmy Kimmel being bitten by a venomous snake on the set of his talk show.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, August 2007]

Is this legit? Was Jimmy Kimmel really bitten by a rattlesnake on his show, or is this one of his “spoofs”?

Origins:   Television has many tales (both true and apocryphal) of on-camera wildlife wranglers being bitten by venomous

snakes (or otherwise injured by dangerous animals), but perhaps no actual footage of such an occurrence is as spectacular as this clip showing comedian Jimmy Kimmel being bitten by a large rattlesnake (named Carl) on the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, his late-night ABC talk show.

Confronted with this clip removed from its original context (as it is here), many viewers might mistake it for a real, live, on-camera mishap. However, this scene was part of a 15 May 2006 episode-long spoof built around another ABC program, the medical series Grey’s Anatomy. The show followed Jimmy as he was bitten by the snake, received emergency medical treatment on the set, and was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where he interacted with characters from Grey’s Anatomy and gamely continued hosting his show from his hospital room (with the band at his bedside).

Even without knowing that this clip was part of a comedic put-on, viewers can discern a bit of trickery. Notice the presciently rapid cutting from a shot of Jimmy to a close-up of the snake box and then back to Jimmy again right when “Carl” strikes, a little manipulation performed to help camouflage the staging of the stunt.

Last updated:   14 August 2007